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living for the weekdays + free wallpaper + something new

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October 29, 2013
Hello friends! Happy Tuesday! Or almost happy Wednesday if you live in my part of the world. Usually on Wednesdays, my thoughts tend to sound something like this: "Still three more days until the weekend."

But I'm making an attempt at being positive by telling myself that my weekdays are not something to race through or get done with, even if it seems that way sometimes (/all of the time, ever). So I'm trying to focus on the potential that my weekdays have. My weekdays generally consist of classes, homework, tutoring and if it's a good day, exercise.

Instead of "still three more days", I'm trying this:

  • I have three more days this week to ace tests.

  • I have three more days this week to help a kid hate math less.

  • I have three more days this week to make someone's day a little less stressful.

  • I have three more days this week to do something fantastic.

When I focus on it that way, I find that I'm excited for tomorrow, because I can do great things with it. I can succeed in my school work and lighten someone else's load and just generally cheer other up with my witty words and stunning good looks.

Because if we're really just living for the weekend, then we're not living for much at all.

As always, I like to remind myself that my happiness is my choice (I figure if I keep telling myself that, eventually I'll remember it). So this is my new iPhone background. I invite you to use it as yours or share it however you want. Just click on the iPhone to download.

And nowwww, I want to try something new. Last week, I posted about science for the first time (not counting Marie Curie). I was really nervous about it, since it's not really a "blog-friendly" topic, if you will. But I got a lot of good feedback--lots of people said they loved it even if they didn't love science. And they loved that I was posting something that I wanted to, just because it's me. And I do want my blog to be "for me", as I think all lifestyle bloggers do. But I also want it to be read.

So I'm testing out a new idea to kind of integrate science into other posts. I will still have regular science posts (I think), but infrequently. Instead, I'll add a paragraph or two at the bottom of regular posts about science, whether it's something I've learned recently, something in the news or a video. I hope you'll find these little science bits interesting but not overwhelming if you're not into it! As always, please let me know how you like it.
Science Bit of the Day

The other day I heard a fascinating story on NPR about a neuroscientist named James Fallon who had studied the brains of psychopaths for many years. At a family dinner, Fallon's mom mentioned that he should look into his dad's family history. So he did, only to find that his own lineage was full of murderers and other criminals. He convinced his family to undergo PET brain scans so he could compare their brain activities to those of psychopaths. He found that all of their brains were normal (aka they weren't serial killers) but found a terrifying discovery within his own brain. Want to find out? Listen or read the story here.

get stuff done: tips + tricks + sanity

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October 26, 2013

Hi pumpkins! How was your week? It's Satturrrdaaayyyyyy!! Yesterday was an especially exciting day for me, not just because it was Friday but also because it was H's birthday! Which meant dinner and presents and happy things. But really, I was so glad his birthday falls on a Friday so I don't have to worry about classwork and everything tonight.

But speaking of classwork and just work in general, I want to share some tips today on how I get through crazy amounts of work. I've found a couple different tools and tips that help me get exponentially more things done.

1. The Pomodoro Method. This one's nothing new, I know, but it's good because it works. This method is best for when you have one task to work on for a long period of time. So this is great for using when working if you're self-employed or a freelancer or really whatever else you're doing. The basic premise of the method is that you work for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes or use that time to transition to another task. After 3-4 "Pomodoros", you take a 15 minute break. Read more about how it works here.

There are lots of tools online to help you with using this method. I especially like the "Simple Pomodoro Timer" app and The Pomodoro Method is really helpful because it keeps you from being distracted by email pings or other little distractions. It's much easier to let them wait if you know you have a five minute slot to deal with them in less than 25 minutes. I've found I'm much more focused and productive using this method.

2. LiltUp. This is an online "to-do" list of sorts but with a timer built in. Basically, you put it everything you have to do along with how long you think it'll take. LiltUp tells you what time you'll be done and then starts the timer for you. I like this tool because when I get home from classes or work, I'll put in literally everything I have for the night (even dinner/shower), and then if I have extra time before bed, I'll put different fun activities and schedule them in between my tasks.

This uber-scheduling might not work for some but it is so helpful for me. The only thing I don't like about LiltUp is that there isn't an app, so I have to be at my computer. If I'm doing work that's offline, that's frustrating because I get distracted by my computer easily.

3. StayFocusd. This is a web extension specifically for Google Chrome but I'm sure there are equivalent tools for other browsers if you look around. In essence, SF has a couple different settings to keep your from wasting time on pointless websites. In one option, you can set a daily max of time on sites like twitter or facebook or whatever your weakness is. After that time, it just won't let you access them. You can also set SF to block certain websites say for a certain time, like an hour, or a certain slot of time. And my favorite SF option is called Nuclear. In Nuclear, SF will block everything on the internet for however long you choose.

One of my favorite things about SF is that you can't go back and change settings (i.e. give yourself more time in the first option) easily. To change the time allowances, you have to copy a paragraph (about procrastination) word for word with no mistakes. It's way harder than you think. Oftentimes, my lazy side will just give up and I'll get back to work.

How do you stay focused + productive?

radio stations for non-street youths

| On
October 24, 2013
Hi lovelies!

So I'm pretty much gonna get straight to it today. For a long time, I hated listening to the radio. Where I live, like 60% of the stations are Christian, which is great and all, but not my style. The rest are like top 20 and rap and I don't like feeling like a street youth all the time. (p.s. please tell me you got that New Girl reference. If you did, I want to be friends.) Anyways, so what does a non-religious/non-thugging girl listen to in the car?

For awhile, the answer was CDs. But that got really tedious to always buy new CDs when I want new music or burn them myself. And that's when I downloaded the glorious app that is iHeartRadio. Just turn it on, let it play. It's life changing, y'all.

Here are three radio stations you should listen to if you are not a street youth. 

The Current 89.3, courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio. Minnesota's Indie, Alt & Roots Station. Playing while I wrote this? An advertisement for a co-op (boo! to the ad, not the co-op). After the ad, "Seven Days, Seven Nights" by the Fratellis. Oh but the annoying thing about The Current is that you can't see the song name on the app--so frustrating!! But you can always look it up online when it's playing. And they have a cool show of Minnesota local music at 6-8 p.m. CST, on Sunday nights. Listen online here.

KCRW 89.9, LA's Independent Music, News & Talk. Playing while I wrote this? A piece on a woman with a driving campaign in Saudi Arabia--which was fascinating. After that, a song by Portugal. The Man--didn't catch the name. Oh and they have a really rad show on weekdays from 9am to noon PST called "Morning Becomes Eclectic" with live performances by bands. You should listen to it.

KEXP 90.3, "where the music matters". This one is not on iHeartRadio but you can listen online at Playing while I wrote this? "Dear Friend" by Jonathan Wilson and then "The Golden Age" by Beck. My favorite show is "The Morning Show" (weekdays, 6-10 am PST) which is this super peppy guy with random music for the mornings. Lurv.

Welp there you go. Thug-proof music. You're welcome. My work here is done.

Over and out.

Get Happy in 10 Minutes a Day

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October 19, 2013
get happy 10

Hi friends! I'm hanging out at the Nectar Collective today and talking about ways to get happy when your life is busier than Martha Stewart at Christmas. Click the banner to see the post!

it's not rocket science.

| On
October 17, 2013
it's not rocket science

I feel like most people have a skewed view of science. For instance, the majority of you probably believe that blog posts should not be about science and you're already done reading this. But if you haven't already clicked [x], let me explain to you why we should have blog posts about science.

What should we blog about? Our lives and our passions, right? For me, science is both. I know that science might not be what everyone wants to read about, but I've decided to truly embrace every blogger's motto--"I blog for myself." 

I consider one of my main goals in having this blog recklessly owning my own quirks in order to inspire other women (like you!) to embrace their own individuality. Quirks are good. They aren't something we keep to ourselves. Because that's borderline shame, and that's so not okay.

So to transition into what (I hope) will be a regularish post on science, I'd like to show you that science really is for normal people! In order to do that, I'd like to share with you some articles on science of all kinds that I've found interesting lately.

Has DNA Really Solved the Mystery of the Yeti? // The Guardian. Hint: it hasn't. Basically a geneticist named Bryan Sykes got ahold of a piece of hair that has been claimed to be from a yeti, founded in the Himalayan Mountains. After doing some testing, it seems to be related to an 40,000 year old polar bear jaw found in Sweden. This led him to think there may be an undiscovered bear population in the Himalayas.

Fat May Be Linked to Memory Loss // Life Science Network. Yet another reason to work on losing a little weight. "People with high amounts of abdominal fat in their middle age are 3.6 times as likely to develop memory loss and dementia later in their life."

Fishermen in Peru slaughter dolphins to use as bait for shark fishing // The Guardian. In an underground investigation, Ecostorm (an environmental agency) has discovered a ring of Peruvian fisherman killing dolphins for bait (which is illegal, as it happens).

Neanderthals Used Toothpicks to Alleviate the Pain of Diseases Related to Teeth, Such as Inflammation of the Gums // Science Daily. I mean the article title's kind of long enough that I think you get the gist without me summarizing it...

Sleep allows brain to wash out junk // Science News Magazine. A new study shows that sleep can clean out unnecessary particles from our brains, including proteins that can lead to Alzheimer's. So it's possible that sleep is linked to the next step in preventing Alzheimer's, how about that?!

Well friends, thanks for sticking with me. Listen, I'd love some feedback on a post like this. I know it's different, but I hope maybe some of you liked it. And if you didn't, please don't be mean and stop reading this blog altogether. I understand that you might not like everything I post. But I hope that my blog brings you something of value. Back on point, let me know how you liked this post and if you didn't (really!).

What kinds of science do you find interesting? What do you blog about that's a little unique, just because you're you?

october music recommendations.

| On
October 13, 2013
Hi friends! Happy Sunday! Here in Michigan, the air is crisp and cool and I spent the morning baking apple about that? After such a stressful few weeks, this weekend has been just what I need!

If you're new around here, weekends like this are something that I call "shots of happy". You know, those things that just make you smile for no reason! For me, this playlist is one of those. It's mostly 80s (but not all, I know) and lots of fun. I hope you like it!


FREE FONT FRIDAY: caviar dreams

| On
October 11, 2013
Hello nuggets!! Happy Friday! I hope that you are like me and have the day off from your usual responsibility--days off from classes make me SO happy! I have been having the most productive morning in a long while, answering emails, doing design, lots of fun, busy things!

My family is in Michigan for the weekend and we're taking an outing apple picking later this afternoon. When I was younger and living in Minnesota, we used to go apple picking every fall and have them make our apples into cider there. So much fun! But there aren't really apple orchards in NC so we haven't done that in a long time.

But switching gears, I'd like to share with you one of my very favorite simple fonts. I love using Caviar Dreams for subtle things because it's so easily readable but still interesting, especially with the rotated 'e'. Love that!


free font friday 2


To install:

  1. Click the image to download.

  2. Click show in folder, or open up whatever folder your downloads go into. Hint: it might be called downloads.

  3. If zipped, right-click and click Extract, then enter.

  4. When that opens, right click on the file (either TrueType or OpenType) and click install. Done!

If you like this font, please pin it! I know lots of you have design, blog or font boards and I would really appreciate the love! You can use my little buttons to the left or the hover on the image to pin it. You're the greatest :)

And in case a free font isn't exciting enough for you, I get to talk about one of my FAVORITE bloggers of allll time--Amber of And Yes to Joy! Isn't that the cutest blog name? Not to mention, she has a super cute design--she did it herself!

aytj screen


Isn't it gorgeous? Amber is so talented. She shares ahhdorable freebies + printables (like this one!) which I just love. One of my favorite things about Amber is how positive and inspiring she is. Personally, I like to be sarcastic and I kind of sort of really like to complain when life hits me the wrong way. Amber takes a super happy spin on everything from learning to love your blog to learning to have joy to simple things like the seasons of the year!

Check out this lovely lady all over the internet: facebook // twitter // bloglovin' // instagram.

I promise--you'll love her!


finding rest in the crazy.

| On
October 08, 2013
Lately, life has just been hitting me hard. I hate to say that because I know there are so many people who are being hit even harder by life, but the daily grind has been a bit much for me. Lately it feels like there's always a paper to write, someone to call, an application to turn in and a miles-long to do list.

And that busyness is just part of life and the stage that I'm in. It's okay that I'm busy. But I'm struggling to maintain my level of positivity when I get only a few hours of sleep a night and don't have even a spare hour to do something just for fun.

This week, I'm making just one goal. I need to rest. I've been driving myself to do everything that my sleep and mental rest is basically nonexistent. I'm not sure how exactly I'm going to make rest happen, but I'm going to make it a conscious goal to rest my mind whenever possible, even if that's just for a few minutes here and there. I'm going to look into some meditative breathing and things like that to deal with stress. If any of you have advice on that, please comment below!

Oh and one happy thing...I got to hang out with this little piglet this weekend. :)


Thanks to everyone who has left comments on my last few posts. You are nice and you are important. I like you.

How do you rest your mind when life is busy?


September in Favorites

| On
October 06, 2013
Hi friends. To start out this month, I want you to know that I'll be posting a little less frequently until maybe Christmas. This is just a hectic period of my life and I'm learning to balance classes and hobbies. Expect 2-3 posts a week. Sometimes more and sometimes less. I hope you'll understand that life will always come first and I hope you feel the freedom to take the same liberties with your own blog if you have one.

But back to my favorites of this month:

favorite writes

First off, I've started offering premade blog templates as a way to redo your blog on a budget! I'm so excited about this and I hope you are too. Also this month, I shared two easy peasy Photoshop tutorials. In the first, I taught you how to create a Pinterest-style collage out of your favorite pictures. You can use this on your blog to display pictures or make a poster of family pictures or your favorite quotes! Second, I taught you how to make personalized notecards. In one of my favorite posts of the month, I shared a little lesson on happiness. Also favorites: 5 Design Resources for Bloggers // Free Social Media Buttons! // [free wallpaper] be the best you that you can be!

favorite book reads

This month, I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which was both incredibly painful to read and incredibly beautiful. It's a wonderful book but I can't recommend it because it's so intense. Be sure you know what it's about before reading it. I also started The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman for our Busy Blogger's Book Club. If you haven't joined, you still have time! We'll start chatting about it on the fifteenth!

favorite music listens

Fire Escape // Gregory Alan Isakov
Romulus // Sufjan Stevens
C'est L'Amour // Rosi Golan

cms fave playlist

woods from alohahoran on 8tracks Radio.

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